| Indian River County Extension Service
1028 20th Pl, Suite D
Vero Beach, FL 32960
Judith A. Wakefield Column for November 24, 2002
· Read the advertisement carefully. Is all needed information provided?
· Find and review the refund and exchange policy of the company. Do they say “Satisfaction Guaranteed,” “Unconditional Guarantee” or “You may return an item for prompt refund if you are not completely satisfied?” It is important for you to know that merchandise can be exchanged or returned for a refund.
· Consider the purchase carefully. Do you need and want this item? Could you purchase the same or similar item locally?
· Find out if there is any type of buying plan involved before you decide to place the order. Are you committed to join some kind of buying club, such as a book, record, food, or cosmetic club?
If you have considered all of the above and decide to order by mail or Internet:
· Complete the order form according to directions.
· Recheck order form to ensure that you have correctly filled it in. Have you clearly identified merchandise ordered, correct size, color, etc?
· Double-check your address. Is it correct and readable?
· Make a copy of your completed order form and of the advertisement being answered, make a copy of the web page and the order form if ordering through the Internet..
· Make a note of the address (both web page and mailing address) to which the order is sent.
· Merchandise must be shipped within 30 days of receipt of the order or within the time disclosed in the advertisement, or within 50 days if you are applying for credit. If the company cannot deliver merchandise within this period, they company must contact you and tell you the expected delivery time and offer to refund your money if you don’t want to wait until delivery can be made.
· If merchandise cannot be delivered within the new delivery time the order is automatically canceled and your money refunded unless you notify the company in writing that you are willing to wait longer.
· If your canceled order was charged to a credit card, the company has one billing cycle to make the adjustments to your account. If the order was paid with a check or money order, the company has only seven days in which to refund the money. You do not have to accept a refund in the form of “credit” to be used for other merchandise from the company.
· Not all mail order purchases are covered by this ruling. Some that are not covered are magazines, seeds, plants, and photo finishing.
· If you have not received your order within a reasonable time (over 30 days or the time specified in the advertisement), find out if your check has been cashed. If you don’t have the canceled check, contact the bank to find out if it has been paid. If it has not been paid you may want to place a stop payment on the check and cancel the order. To cancel, write the company telling them that since your check was not cashed the company did not accept the order and that you have stopped payment on your check and canceled the order.